A decade and a day ago, this happened.
In his first moments on the job as Cal's 32nd football coach, [Jeff] Tedford was quick to outline his vision: "to get to where we're competing for the Pac-10 championship and at the national level."
That long journey began yesterday at a news conference at Memorial Stadium.
Tedford, a coach for 15 years, takes over a team that was 1-10 this season. He inherits a program that hasn't had a winning season since 1993 and hasn't represented the conference in the Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1959. Tedford does it with a simple commitment to hard work and team values.
"Our team will be disciplined, our team will play hard," he said. "They will play fast, they will play smart. They will have a lot of fun, but they will do it with class."
For the most part, for ten years, his teams have fit those qualities. And the way things are looking, I have a feeling the remainder of his teams here will embody all these attributes.
Regardless what you think of this coach (and I know a lot of you think a lot of different things), a decade in college football is an eternity these days. Tedford will likely be the longest-tenured coach in Cal football history when all is said and done, and he should be able to break the all-time record for most wins as leader of the Golden Bears.
Here in this thread, we reflect on how we thought of things at the beginning, and how far we've come from there. Here's to another ten Coach.
What were your original thoughts on the hiring of Tedford? Did you know anything about him? What were the reactions from other people you knew? Were any of you optimistic that he would be the one to turn Cal around?
TwistNHook: Although I had only missed 1 home game in years at that point, I have no recollection of where I was or what I thought when Tedford was hired.
I don't think I'd ever seen Cal win more than 4 games in my career at that point. To me, college football wasn't about winning. That was what other teams did. To me, college football was about going to the game, having fun with your friends, and sweating a lot in the afternoon sun (no evening or even later afternoon start times!).
This is also now how I feel as an A's fan.
solarise: I had high hopes for Tedford replacing Holmoe. Really, things couldn't have been any worse after 1-10. Students and alumni clamored for change. Tedford was the man Gladstone wanted. Billed as the offensive mind behind Mike Bellotti's Oregon Ducks, Coach Tedford brought respect and success back to the Golden Bears. I recalled the first offensive play of the 2002 season - backward pass from Kyle Boller to Terrell Williams to David Gray for a TD. That play rekindled my long dormant passion for football excellence at Memorial.
CALumbus Bear: I had no idea who this new coach was when he was hired, as I was busy convincing myself we were a basketball school. However, when I stumbled upon the Cal-Michigan State game in 2002, and I saw us beat the crap out of a ranked team on the road, I quickly learned about Tedford. That game re-ignited my passion for Cal football. After getting together with Ohio Bear to watch Cal FINALLY take back the Axe later that season, I began to think this coach was pretty durn good. Turns out I was wrong: he is an excellent coach. I praise Oski we hired him, and I hope he stays many more years (and, of course, gets us to at least one Rose Bowl).
Kodiak: Amidst the smoldering detritus of the Holmoe era, I think athletic director Steve Gladstone could have announced that he was going to hold a Madden 2001 tournament to find the next coach and it would have been met with, "well, why not?" The rumor was that Marvin Lewis was our first choice, so when Jeff Tedford was announced, there was a resounding cry of, "who?" But when it was explained that he had been Oregon's offensive coordinator, I became cautiously optimistic. After all, Oregon had been putting 30-40 points up on everybody and their quarterback had gone from an unknown to a Heisman candidate.
Juggling my residency and attending Cal football games was a tough call those days, particularly during the 1-10 season. It really wasn't the easiest sell to get Mrs. Kod to agree to attend the home opener with me. Fortunately, we were newlyweds, so she was still pretending that my Cal lunacy was somewhat endearing. It's amazing how many emotional highlights there were in that first season. Besides the trick halfback option to blow open the gates, there was the "72,000? Disappointed fans!" locker room cheer when we upset Michigan State on the road. I remember a game where we needed to run out the clock, but there was too much time remaining for consecutive kneel-downs. Instead of punting, Tedford had Boller throw backwards to Makonnen. The opposing team couldn't get to him and time expired. I remember yelling, "Wow!??! Who does that? Who even thinks of that? Who even practices that? We've got a coach!!!"
Besides a flicker of competence during much-too-short Snyder era, that year was the first time amidst 20+ years of watching Cal football where our team looked well-coached and competitive. Sure, there have been some hiccups over the past few years. But "bad" years during the Tedford era would have been cause for backflips in almost any other decade. He's a good man, a class act, and I'm glad that he's our coach. Happy 10th, Coach. Here's hoping the next 10 comes with Roses and a permanent lease on the Axe.
norcalnick: For a little historic perspective, it's worth mentioning that Cal has never had a coach stay longer than a decade. Andy Smith coached for 10 years and would have stayed much, much longer had he not passed away, and Pappy Waldorf probably could have stayed beyond 10 years under different circumstances. But the fact remains that Jeff Tedford will next year claim the title of longest tenured coach in Cal history to add to his title of winningest coach in Cal history.
I appreciate what Jeff Tedford has done for the Cal Football program. What he does isn't easy. It's often a quite unforgiving job too. It's been a memorable experience to watch his teams, and I hope for many winning seasons to come so I can continue to watch him coach the Bears.